The first region to inaugurate the new currency on January 1, 2002, at 20.00 GMT, was Reunion, an island in the Indian Ocean. Within two hours, the euro entered circulation in Finland and then in Greece. Starting at 23.00 GMT, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands inaugurated the new currency. Subsequently, starting at 00.00 GMT, Ireland and Portugal were added to the EU list in euro, according to ecb.europa.eu and Agerpres.
The history of the euro actually begins on 1 July 1990. That is when the first phase of economic and monetary union (EMU) began. After more than two years, the Single Market was completed, and on January 1, 1994, the preparatory phase of economic and monetary union began. It was also set up in the European Monetary Institute in the same year, when EU Member States acted to combat budget deficits and achieve economic convergence.
In December 1995, the European Council adopted the name “euro” for the single currency. The denomination of the currency was an important step in preparing for the transition to the single currency, partly leading to public acceptance of Economic and Monetary Union, according to publications.europa.eu.
The year 1998 is an important step for the European Union. At a summit in Brussels on 2 May, EU leaders approved the list of the 11 countries participating in the first wave: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. The United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden have opted to postpone their participation in the euro.
Also in 1998, the European Central Bank began operations in Frankfurt and decided on the same monetary policy for the entire euro area. From now on, financial markets operate in euros and public debt is estimated in the single currency. As of January 1, 2000, banks start issuing checks in euros, and their customers can pay with both checks and credit cards.
What does the eurozone look like today?
Today, 19 of the 27 EU member states have adopted the euro as their single currency, forming the eurozone. The states that are part of this area are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
The euro is also used by other countries, either as a legal means of payment or for practical reasons. These are the EU’s neighboring states or the former colonies. In total, the euro is used by around 343 million European citizens.
Because it is a widely used currency, the euro has become the second international currency, being ranked immediately after the dollar. If we look at the cash in circulation, the euro has succeeded in dethroning the US currency.
Euro coins have the following eight values: 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 euro and 2 euros. In turn, the euro banknotes have the values: 5 euros, 10 euros, 20 euros, 50 euros, 100 euros, 200 euros and 500 euros.
Romania has not yet joined the eurozone, but remains committed
All EU Member States are required to introduce the euro, the only exception being Denmark. It has a “non-participation clause” in the EU treaties and is exempt from the obligation to adopt the euro, according to consilium.europa.eu.
Romania is also one of the states that have adopted the euro, which means, in practice, that it is a full participant in the Economic and Monetary Union, provided that all the necessary conditions are met, respectively the nominal convergence criteria (price stability, public finances , exchange rate stability, long-term interest rates), legal and real (indicators, such as GDP / capita, labor productivity, energy intensity, etc.), notes the website of the National Bank of Romania, www.bnr.ro.
In 2020, when the European Central Bank’s Convergence Report was prepared, Romania met only part of the nominal and legal convergence criteria, according to the NBR.
Through the Convergence Program 2021-2024, Romania maintains its commitment to join the euro area. Due to the pandemic caused by the SARS-Cov-2 virus, the Government is focusing more on minimizing the negative social and economic effects of the pandemic.